How Andreia Fernandes Put the Pieces Back Together

 

How a Few Seconds Changed Everything

Andreia was in the kitchen of her bridal and tailoring shop when she felt the urge to make coffee, an atypical feeling for her so late in the afternoon. She walked to the front of the store, and as she waited for the water to boil, she glanced up at the ceiling and saw that it was on fire. Andreia grabbed her pocketbook and two wedding dresses and ran out the door. She had no choice but to leave behind everything else, including dresses she had invested thousands of dollars and months of her time in. Outside, she turned the corner and started to cry. “That was my whole life in there. Within seconds, we had lost everything.”

 

Starting From Scratch

Andreia describes herself as “the friend that all other friends come to for planning their events.” She loved planning things for her friends and her family, and when she planned her own wedding, she realized just how much it was truly her passion. “I love making dreams come true, hearing each one of my clients’ stories, and being a being part of it.” Up until her wedding, Andreia had been working as a banker and planning events on the side, but after that, she quit her job and began pursuing wedding planning full time.

 

A few months after the fire, Andreia decided she was going to keep her head up and start putting the pieces of her business back together again. The first step she took was renting out a new space for her office. She had already received a loan of $5,400 from Accion previously for her bridal and tailoring shop, but a second loan of $7,800 enabled her to pay for the new space. It was not only the financial assistance, but the sense of support, that helped Andreia through such a difficult time. “When the fire happened, I called my loan consultant and asked “what am I going to do now?” He said, “don’t worry, it’s going to be okay.” He was very helpful through the whole process. He went out of his way to give me tips on how to rebuild and how to restart.”

 

Everything in the Right Place

Now that her business, Hello There Bride, is once again underway, Andreia is able to appreciate the opportunities that it allows her. “Owning my own business allows me freedom and flexibility – especially with my baby and my son. I’m able to be a mom and still do what I love, which is my work. It has also allowed me to be able to grow and through growing, I can provide more for my clients and for my family.”

 

Looking back on her experience, Andreia has learned that she is more resilient than she ever could have imagined. “It was a really hard time for me. I was losing my business, my money, everything I had invested in, and I was pretty much by myself.” Yet it was the support of her children and her passion that at the end of the day, gave her strength. “The love I have for what I do definitely kept me going. I’ve been in this new space for a year and I love it. This is the right place for me to be.”